Indonesian TCI Scope & Sequence – TPT

Yesterday after about many months, I finally finished the Indonesian Scope & Sequence for beginner Indonesian TCI teachers and have uploaded a PDF version to TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers). This document began when I decided to document the order of stories I use in my classroom. The reasons for this are many. Firstly to systematically confirm that the stories did in fact build on each other from a vocabulary standpoint, that the story outcomes aligned with the ACARA Achievement Standards (as per the directive from school leadership in regards to reporting to parents), that the top ten + sudah/belum were equally encompassed and finally to create a document that could be shared with colleagues.

One of the hardest parts of beginning the TCI journey is finding a good place to start and then the second hardest part is knowing where to go next! This list of stories hopefully helps with both those issues.

The stories listed in the Scope & Sequence will be gradually added to this blog. The first set of stories have already been added. Search for them in the top bar above this post. Click on “Scope & Sequence Stories” and they will open up in the order they were listed.

I am hoping that within my blog are many ideas that you can try for each of the stories. Search in the Target Structure TCI Activities page, (look at the top of this page) or look to the right of this post and scroll down the topics list till you find the TCI Activities category where when clicked will list all my posts that contained activities that I have used with students. You can also search for story titles in the search bar.

For an idea of how I have used a story with classes, this post I wrote last year gives you an outline. It is based on the traditional story Kancil & Buaya. I prefer to pre-teach unknown target structures and it is so important that these be limited to no more than 3. Anymore than 3 students start facing mental overload and incomprehensibility. My favourite way to pre-teach new structures is using quirky pictures; the quirkier the better. It certainly ramps up engagement! Search Google Images for your target structure & add the words ‘pic + funny’ and you’ll be surprised what turns up. Be careful though doing this at school! Googling ‘terlalu besar’ (too big) images for Judith Dubois’ Jacket story is not something I recommend if students are nearby!

Thank you to everyone who purchases a copy of this document. I truly hope you find it helpful. Please contact me if you have any comments about it.

Remember this quote Margarita Perez Garcia share with us at the 2019 TCI Conference;

There isn’t good and bad CI. All CI is good!! 


Indonesian Folktale – Kancil dan Buaya

I have been focusing on this folktale this term with my year 1-3 classes. The first and last time I taught this story was back in 2015 and it has been fascinating looking back over my lesson plans from that time as it was the first year I taught using TCI.

I’ve been having so much fun with this story that I want to share with you a few of the pre story ideas I came up with for the story. Probably though, before I go any further, I should share with you the TCI version of the folktale that is based on the one that Annie, Sharon & I co-created in 2015.

Ada kancil.

Kancil tinggal di hutan.

 Di hutan ada sungai.

Kancil berjalan kaki ke sungai.

Kancil lapar.

Kancil lihat mangga dan mau seberang sungai.

Kancil tidak bisa berenang.

Kancil lihat buaya di sungai.

Buaya lapar.

Kancil berkata, “Halo buaya. Ada berapa buaya di sungai?”

Buaya berkata, “Kurang tahu.”

Kancil berkata, “Ayo buaya, antri. Saya mau menghitung.”

Buaya antri.

Kancil seberang sungai dan melompat dari buaya ke buaya dan menghitung.

 Satu, dua, tiga, empat, lima, enam, tujuh, delapan, sembilan, sepuluh!”

Kancil putar dan lihat buaya.

Kancil tertawa! Ha! Ha!

Buaya marah. Grr. Grr.

Kancil senang sekali makan mangga.

Kancil terlalu pandai.

Translation: There’s a mouse deer. The mouse deer lives in the forest. There is a river in the forest. Cancel walked to the river. Mousedeer is hungry. Mousedeer saw a mango and wanted to eat it. Mousedeer can’t swim. Mousedeer saw that there were crocodiles in the river. They are hungry. Mousedeer said, “Hallo crocodile. How many crocodiles are in the river?” The crocodiles said, “Don’t know!” Mousedeer said, “Line up so that I can count you.” The crocodiles lined up. Mousedeer jumped from crocodile to crocodile and counted. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Mousedeer turned and looked at the crocodiles. Mousedeer laughed. Ha! Ha! The crocodiles were cross. Grr. Grr.  Mousedeer happily ate the mango. Mousedeer is too clever!

Prestory telling:

My structures for this story have been:
Kancil- mousedeer
bisa – can/able to
seberang sungai – cross the river

Other structures that were covered through TPR & brain breaks include:
berenang – swim
tertawa – laugh
antri – line up

structures not covered; just translated whenever it was said;
kurang tahu – don’t know


To introduce the kancil/mouse-deer, I googled pics of them which I shared with the classes. There are also a few great youtube clips. This is one of my favourites:


Easily the best fun I had was introducing the structure ‘bisa’. My first lesson was a hoot thanks entirely to Ibu Anne. I added to my powerpoint, pictures of people doing things and then asked the class, “Siapa bisa….” ( Who can…?) When students put up their hand to indicate that they could do the said skill, I stated, “Bu Cathy mau lihat!” (I want to see it), Students happily got up and demo’d their skill in front of the class. The actions included playing violin, playing drums, gymnastics, singing (I gave them a microphone for this!), dancing (firstly waltz, secondly floss, thirdly line dancing) and then finished with flying! The flying was hilarious. In between 2 lines of  students, I placed a chair at one end and I stood at the other end with my arms out-stretched, asking, “Siapa bisa terbang ke Bu Cathy?” (Who can fly to Bu Cathy?) Everyones hand went up! Students  then one by one, volunteered to stand on the chair and fly to me! After each effort, I would sadly state, “Oh, tidak bisa terbang! (Oh, can’t fly!)” This was such a great lesson! The creativity of students to fly to me was awesome!
For the followup lesson focusing on ‘bisa’, I struck gold when I popped into the performing arts classroom and discovered receptions students learning how to do pair balances with our brilliant Performing Arts teacher, Natalie Bond. Here are a couple that I have used successfully:

Google ‘simple pair balances’ and there are heaps! I have to add here though, that I was very fortunate in that Natalie did all the teaching of how to do each safely, how to work out who does what and that they each needed to take it in turns if one partner had to do a different action to the other.

My next target structure that I introduced was ‘seberang sungai’ (crossed the river). I intentionally added this into the story because it is a phrase that is so easily adaptable. It could become seberang {ruang} kelas (cross the class {room}) or even seberang jalan (cross the road). After much thought and research on the internet, I knew I wanted to have the students crossing a make believe river. Most ideas I found required equipment/props I didn’t have or would be bulky to pack up & store between lessons. I hit upon an easy yet successful substitute by fluke during one of the lessons. I noticed that as students stood up to move to one side of the ‘river’, there were cushions on the floor! Light bulb moment! I asked my star student (the one sitting on the Kursi Luar Biasa) to spread the cushions throughout the river and then told the remaining students they were all kancil who wanted to ‘seberang sungai’. I explained that they had to jump from cushion to cushion and if they fell in the river, they became a crocodile. (kancil melompat dari cushion ke cushion. Kancil jatuh di sungai, jadi (become) buaya di sungai). I add the English after words not yet acquired. This was so engaging, that students sat quite patiently waiting for their turn to seberang sungai! It also gave me heaps of opportunities to say ‘seberang sungai’ over and over again.

My follow up for ‘seberang sungai’ was to show a few pictures I found on the internet of Indonesian students crossing rivers to get to school which provided great opportunities for intercultural PQA.

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.28.33 pm.png

I also found a few pictures of crocodiles crossing rivers at Cahill Crossing in the NT and then cheekily finished up with this picture:

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Students were indignant when I circled ‘kancil seberang sungai’ and laughed when I explained that there is a make of car in Indonesia called a ‘kancil’!!

Look what I have also just found!! How cute! Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.32.11 pm.png


I enjoyed introducing  ‘berenang‘, ‘antri‘ & ‘tertawa‘ – via TPR & Brain Breaks.

‘Tertawa’ (Laugh) is in a great Indonesian song/rhyme that has been a huge hit with students of all ages. I found it on youtube originally but have adapted it significantly from a CI perspective. It goes like this:
Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 11.24.01 am.png

Here is my 2017 year 2/3 class demonstrating it:


Antri (line up):
For this, I incorporated ideas I learned while observing Annabelle Allen at iFLT 2019. I simply ask the class to ‘antri, tinggi sampai pendek’. (line up, tallest to shortest). This is very hard for students to do without talking, so once again, I used Annabelle Allen’s technique of stopping them and demonstrating ways in which they could achieve this using the Indonesian they know, then letting them go again. The first time I did this, I had to stop them several times to give kudos to those students who were using Indonesian – such a positive way of getting in those sneaky reps! Other ‘antri’ ideas include;
-hari ulang tahun (birthday months) – although I did have quite a few students who didn’t know theirs!
-mau punya buaya (wants to own a crocodile)
-nama, A sampai Z (by name, A to Z)
If you can think of any more – please add the ideas in the comments below. One I planned to do but abandoned because I anticipated too much English discussion was foot size. I think this would work better with older students!


Berenang (Swim) is easy to incorporate into TPR & mata-mata (spy). In terms 3 & 4 for mata-mata I have been trialling a variation of this to keep it novel. Students love this part of the lesson and woe betide if I forget it! It isn’t strictly great TCI as it is largely listen and repeat, but for junior primary aged students, I have found it a terrific way to begin my lessons and get them thinking in Indonesian and can also be an impressive demonstration for visitors of just how much these young’uns have acquired!
So this term, I have a slide in my powerpoint of the language we are focusing on currently. It looks like this:
Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 11.45.19 am.png

I limit the number of words so that it isn’t too overwhelming for the students with poor literacy. I then ask them each to choose one word for which they know the gesture. I remind them that they are not to speak, the class speaks. The mata-mata take it in turns to gesture and the class calls out the Indonesian word that it represents. Overall this has been a successful adaptation however there have been a few students, generally those with poor literacy skills, who misunderstand the instructions and make up their own gesture. Unfortunately this results in everyone calling out a random word, often in English! I am hoping that with lots of modelling and student demonstrations, this will gradually decrease!

I told the story towards the end of the term several times. The first time using pictures on a powerpoint and the second using student actors. The best thing about this story is that it easily accommodates an entire class of actors. I randomly choose the kancil using my class collection of paddle pop sticks, and the remaining characters in the story are acted out by whoever wants to. The remaining actor parts include:
hutan (forest)
sungai (river) &
buaya (crocodile).
I do not limit the. numbers of any of the above parts because any variation becomes an almost parallel story!! The first class acted out the story so well, I asked them to do it again the following lesson do that I could take photos of them to make a class book. The book looks amazing! My kancil was very expressive.

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 7.41.04 pm.png

It’s now the school holidays, and I am looking forward to planning fun activities based on this story for next term that will provide plenty of opportunities for assessment ready for the upcoming term 4 reports.



Listen, Write, Illustrate

This week, I tried something new….

I have been ready to move on to a new target structure and with only 4 short weeks left of term 1, I didn’t want to begin anything major. This type of window provides the perfect opportunity to trial an idea and if it works, its a bonus and if it flops, then there’s absolutely no harm done and we can merely chalk it up as experience.

Our stories have usually focused on structures that help us stay in Indonesian when communicating with each other in the classroom. The story this term introduced the phrases, open the door & close the door which are both very handy in summer and winter! ‘buka’ &’tutup’ are useful in themselves too and it wasn’t till we added them to our repertoire, that I discovered just how useful they could be. Another verb that I really need to is ‘get’ (ambil). I often ask students to get a clipboard, a pensil, a penghapus etc. So last week, I set out with that intention.

I began with having the word up on the board and asking students to copy me saying it a million times using a variety of voices. I love doing this and wish I had a greater ability to mimic well known characters! I also love singing the words because this gives me the opportunity to stress syllables slowly and clearly. Students just love opera singing!! Its hilarious watching them doing this! Maybe they get just as much enjoyment from watching me!! Following this is an explaination of  what ‘ambil’ means along with asking for a hand gesture which clearly demonstrates its meaning. I only choose one gesture for the entire school, so I encourage students in each class to demonstrate their suggested gesture repeatedly while I search for the student whose gesture is either identical to or very similar to the initial gesture that I chose during the very first lesson of the week. I then give kudos to the student whose gesture was ‘chosen’ by looking them in the eye and giving them a big smile! It truly makes their day! We then as a whole class practice their gesture while simultaneously  verbalising the structure chorally.

Then instead of circling to chase those repetitions, using either a picture, powerpoint or student, my distributors handed out a pensil, clipboard dan kertas to each student. Then I asked students to lipat (fold) then lipat again (while demonstrating to minimize using English). I could then ask students to ‘buka kertas’ ( open the paper – got a rep of buka in- what a bonus!) and number each quarter. I then gave the instructions while gesturing to clarify my meaning: Bu Cathy berkata dan murid menulis. After clarifying the meaning of menulis (write), I said the sentence, “SpongeBob ambil sprite.” and students wrote it in square nomor satu. I clarified that only the Indonesian must be spelled correctly!! Then  I asked students to menggambar SpongeBob ambil sprite.

I got so many repetitions of ‘ambil’ and students through illustrating each of the 4 sentences truly demonstrated that they understood and comprehended it. It was a fun way of having all students fully focused and on task. They loved it. 

Enjoy the following selection of work from one of the year 5 classes.


Why are Frequency Lists Important For Language Teachers?

A frequency list identifies words that occur most frequently in that particular language in everyday conversations. For most languages, frequency lists are easy to find, yet for Indonesian the first one I found was this one and that was thanks to Penny Coutas. There are many sites that offer lists of common Indonesian words. See here, here (my favourite) and here. Look through their word lists and see if you agree that they are in fact a list of the words that you would use the most when communicating in Indonesian.

Ben Slavic says that a language teachers curriula is a list of words and for me this rings true. No matter what methodology you use to teach a language, your lesson is based around a particular group of words. As the goal of language teachers is to provide opportunities for students to develop conversational fluency, it makes sense for teachers to target the specific vocabulary necessary for this. The frequency lists are thus lists of the most frequently used words that occur naturally and regularly in everyday conversations.

From the list of 200 most common Indonesian words, we wanted to determine the Indonesian ‘Super 7” (credit Terry Waltz). To identify the core vocabulary  necessary to ensure 100% comprehensibility in all classroom conversations. Terry Waltz says of her ‘super 7’ that “if you can get novices to really, really, really own these words, they can figure out how to communicate about quite complex things with just a few words.”

So we decided we wanted to determine the Indonesian ‘top 10’. However I do agree with Penny Coutas about sudah/belum, so therefore I personally suggest that the Indonesian list becomes known as the Top 10 + sudah/belum. Knowing our Top 10 + sudah/belum, helps us determine the path necessary for students to develop and improve their proficiency.

So far, in term 1 we covered suka, pakai, punya, kasi, di and mau while this term our target structures have included revising the above as well as ada & pakai. The idea being that once students have thoroughly acquired the Top 10, we can start introducing more complex  target structures.

Elsewhere on Ben Slavic’s blog, he and other experienced TCI teachers advise that frequency lists are a very good place for novice TCI language teachers and learners to start; they are the ‘beginners curriculum’ (Alisa Shapiro). TCI teachers are in favour of a personalised curriculum – that is a curriculum based around the  interests and needs of students. Engaged students are after all far more enjoyable to teach, so it is a win – win!!

The Top 10 + sudah/belum list is always open for discussion and will be revised over and over as time goes by. No doubt, during the next opportunity to speak in Indonesian, I will hear/use a word that will make me stop and wonder whether it too should be a consideration!!


What are the Top 10 High Frequency Words in Indonesian?

If you had to identify a  list of no more than 10 Indonesian words that are absolutely essential for communicating with anyone in Indonesia, what would they be? 

We have been working on this list all year and hope to complete our first draft of it during the upcoming July school holidays. No doubt the list will be constantly tweaked as we progress along the TCI road. 

My list includes:

  1. punya – to have/own
  2. kasi – to give
  3. suka – like
  4. ada – there is/are
  5. bisa – can
  6. mau – want
  7. pakai – wear/use
  8. ke -to
  9. di – in/at/on
  10. ambil – get

Other words that I believe are also important (although could largely be communicated using body language) include:

  1. sudah/belum
  2. ya/tidak/bukan
  3. sedikit/banyak 

What do you think of the first list? I would love to hear your comments if you are an Indonesian teacher/learner.

Once the top 10 list is finalised, we will next identify the top 100 high frequency words which are pertinent and relevant for beginner Indonesian learners. I believe it is useful to know what these words are because they focus and guide teacher planning. When I look back over the thematic units of work I have done with past students, very few (the 4% ers) can recall much of the vocabulary we covered. Our new catchcry is narrow and deep unlike our previous method for which the catchcry in  hindsight seemed to be: shallow and broad. The top 10 essential words for communication will become the foundation for our current and future students’ aquisition.